Native American Literature

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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The use of natural images in Native American literature reveals their love and respect for the land. Native Americans show great emotion towards nature and views the Earth and the sky as their mother and father. These great symbols are a part of all Native American life. From the poem, "I Have Killed the Deer," a Taos Pueblo Indian states, "When I die I mustgive life to what has nourished me. The Earth receives my body and gives it to the plants, the caterpillars, to the birds and the coyotes." This Indian believes the Earth nourished him with all of the plants, animals and water that he could ever need, when he dies his body will become one with the Earth. This is giving back to the Earth from what he has taken, showing how much he cares for the Earth and how it has nourished him. Another example, from the short story, "The Sky Tree," the chief's wife states, "When I cut the tree, it split and then fell through a great hole.

Without the tree, there can be no life, I must follow it." This great "sky tree" of life feeds all of the people and animals of the land and she must follow it in order to save it from disappearing and then being no life. With the help of the animals, they all created a new world. This new world is now known today as Earth. Showing how greatly the land means to the Native Americans, they go after the tree in order for there to be life. This is saying, without the Earth or land there cannot be life at all.

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